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MOFA urges Norwegian government to correct Taiwan's designation

2019/09/03 20:39:34

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that it has urged the Norwegian government to correct Taiwan's designation on resident permits issued for Taiwanese residing in the northern European country.

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told reporters that the Taipei Mission in Sweden, Taiwan's closest representative office to Norway, has written to Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide urging the Norwegian government to take the matter seriously and correct the wording on the resident permits, which has been changed to "China" from "Taiwan."

Ou said the current designation for Taiwan on the resident permits held by Taiwanese living in Norway is inappropriate and that MOFA will keep in touch with the Norwegian government to ensure a correction is made as soon as possible.

A group of Taiwanese residing in Norway have filed a lawsuit against the Norwegian government, accusing them of changing their citizenship to Chinese from Taiwanese on their resident permits.

One of the three Taiwanese plaintiffs in the case, who identified himself only as Joseph, said Monday that they filed the lawsuit at a district court in Oslo Aug. 29 and that a court hearing is scheduled to be held in early 2020.

The three plaintiffs have named the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) and the Oslo Police District as defendants in the lawsuit, Joseph said.

Starting from 2010, Joseph, a lawyer, had previously said, the Norwegian authorities began changing the citizenship designation on their resident permits to China, prompting him to launch a movement to call for the Norwegian government to correct the problem.

Despite repeated protests against the name change, Joseph said, the Norwegian government has failed to respond, which made many Taiwanese residents and students in the country angry, prompting them to file the lawsuit.

Ou said that through the representative office in Sweden, MOFA has made contact with the founder and other participants in the movement to gain a better understanding of what assistance they need from the Taiwanese government.

To file the lawsuit, Joseph and other participants in the movement launched an online fundraising campaign in the second half of last year. So far, they have raised more than NT$3 million (US$95,541).

According to Joseph, since Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2010, the Norwegian government has sought to distance itself from Taiwan over fear of angering China again.

Joseph said he is prepared for the worst-case scenario, adding that if they lose the lawsuit, they will file an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights to allow the world to hear the voice of the Taiwanese people.

(By Elaine Hou and Frances Huang)
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